Her tongue sweeps into my mouth as she deepens our kiss. She tastes like saltwater taffy. The pink flavor. Strawberry? No, that’s not it. Watermelon. Yeah.
“Quit nodding your head.”
Shit. I growl softly to cover. Okay, try to focus on something other than identifying the flavor on her tongue. Which is definitely watermelon saltwater taffy. I bought some at that shop on the pier over the summer.
He was there. Not in the store. Just outside. Wearing just his swim trunks. Eating a hotdog. Opening his delicious mouth, his succulent lips wrapping around the bun as it slid in.
“Oh wow. You’re getting so much better at this!”
What? Shit. I’m here. I mean… yay… I’m here, in a girl’s bedroom while her parents are away. My girlfriend’s bedroom. Right. This is good. The DJ comes on the radio, saying the next song is currently number one in the nation. I Swear by All-4-One plays.
I smile at her. My best friend’s best friend. Can’t screw up with her without losing the nicest girl I know. A picture of the two of them together watches me from her headboard. She’ll know everything that happened later. One or both of us will tell her. Another reason not to blunder this. How do I get myself into these messes?
“Do you wanna touch my boobs?”
I smile and nod. Of course I want to do that. What red-blooded American teenage boy wouldn’t want to touch his girlfriend’s boobs? Yes, that’s definitely something I want to do.
She unbuttons her shirt. I’m grateful because I really didn’t want to break off a button or something. I mean, yeah, I could sew it back on. But her buttons are tiny. She’s tiny. I could tie four sticks together and hang two apples off them and not know the difference. Shit. That’s a horrible thought. I’m a bad person. Shit.
“Enjoy the treasure,” she says as she pulls her bra off.
She just called her boobs a treasure.
Right. Because that’s what they are to her. Or are supposed to be to me. I move my hand onto one. It’s not as floppy as I thought.
Doesn’t flex though. I bet he flexes his pecks when someone touches him like this. What would his chest feel like?
“Umm… hello? What’s going on?”
She stares at me.
I’m doing this wrong.
“This is the first time you’ve touched a boob, right?”
I nod. Unless she counts when I was a baby feeding from my mother. That’s not the same. Great, now I’m thinking about my mother. Shit.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Everything. Literally everything. I take my hand back as I move away. My feet hit the floor, toes curling in the fluffy purple rug. I can’t bear to stand up yet. Part of me wants to run. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and die.
“Hey. Talk to me.” She leans her naked torso against my topless back. Skin on skin contact. That’s supposed to arouse me. I’m supposed to be going crazy with desire right now. “Is it me?”
Shit, shit, shit. I can’t even have a breakdown correctly. “No.”
I tighten my jaw, breathe through my nose, and wiggle my toes. Fight the tears. Push everything back down. I swallow hard as I turn to her, taking her chin in my hands. I kiss her softly. Her lips, her cheeks, her forehead. And then smile at her as I pull her into my arms.
She settles in my lap. Maybe it’ll be okay.
“Are you…” She takes a long, deep breath. This isn’t going to be okay. “You aren’t hard.”
I try to look away, but she pulls my face back toward her.
“It isn’t me, is it? You’re gay.”
I shake my head. “No.”
Nope. Don’t say it. Not here. This place, this town, this school district, it isn’t safe to say such things.
“That’s why we have the same best friend, one who is a girl. It’s why you’re so good at certain things that other guys wouldn’t even think to try. Like making clothing.”
“I can hunt. You know I’ve got bigger bucks than anyone else in our school. I just believe in using all parts of the animal. I’ll make you a bunny bra for your birthday. You’ll love it.”
She laughs and kisses my chin. “You’re not supposed to want to make me a bra. You’re supposed to want me to them off.”
“I know.” Shit. “And I do. Really. Those are awesome.”
To prove my point, I goose her boob.
She rolls with laughter.
“Oh mercy, that’s not even close to right.”
“Yeah. Sorry. First time. I mean, I was breastfed. That doesn’t count. It really doesn’t count.”
The joy drains from her face. She places her hand on my cheek.
“Oh crap. Is that what’s wrong? You flashed back on your mom?”
An out. A logical reason that explains things, and doesn’t mean something is wrong with her, and doesn’t mean I’m gay.
“Yeah. I’m sorry. That’s weird, right? It is. I know it is. Not like I planned it.”
She kisses me. Her lips don’t leave mine as she shifts. One minute she was sitting in my lap, and now she’s on it, straddled across me, her legs wrapped behind me.
“I’m so sorry for what I said. That was mean.” She kisses me again. “Of course it was a flashback. And you can’t control that. And here you were, feeling all upset, missing the parents you were taken from. And I just made it worse. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
She kisses me again. I wrap my arms around her.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you what was going through my head. Just didn’t want to ruin the mood. You taste like watermelon taffy. I really love that flavor.”
She giggles. I think about that day at the pier. And the first time I touch a boob doesn’t force the truth out.